Ben Wheatley has become an interesting filmmaker in the modern industry. The director continues to make films that feel independent in tone, and would likely have received much praise in the Sundance era of the 1990s. Depending on your tastes, you may have fallen in love with “Free Fire,” “Sightseers” or “High-Rise” over the past few years. His next film, “Happy New Year, Colin Burstead.” received some love after it’s premiere at the London Film Festival. While Wheatley may be an acquired taste, he is about to embark on the biggest profile film of his career for Netflix. Starring Armie Hammer and Lily James, get ready for a new version of “Rebecca.”
According to Deadline, both Hammer and James officially signed on to the project. Wheatley is set to direct the film based on a script from Jane Goldman. Goldman has written other popular films over the years, including “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and “X-Men: First Class.” Yet “Rebecca” represents a different kind of endeavor for all involved. Alfred Hitchcock notoriously never won an Oscar himself. Yet “Rebecca,” a gothic romance starring Laurence Oliver and Joan Fontaine, was the only one of his films to win Best Picture. Additionally, the film scored 11 total nominations. It only won Picture and Cinematography (Black and White) but remains a classic to this day.
The choice to remake an iconic film of the 1940’s seems like an interesting step for Wheatley. The script looks to draw more from the original novel from Daphne du Maurier. This could unlock more of the story. Hitchcock’s adaptation made major changes to the narrative because of the Hays Code. Additionally, the era in which the film was made means more of the subtext can become actual text. It will be curious to see what Wheatley and Goldman will create.